A group calling itself "Third Force Alliance" is urging the parliament of Ghana not to allow the Electoral Commission's Constitutional Instrument(CI) to mature and become a law.
The group holds the view that the CI is not only obnoxious and unconstitutional but inimical to the tenets of participatory democracy in Ghana.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we have observed with nostalgia the spirited attempts by the Electoral Commission to push and railroad this Constitutional Instrument through the process, despite some of the very objectionable provisions that have occasioned numerous calls by well-meaning Ghanaians and identifiable stakeholders on the EC to abreast itself with the dangers and repercussions that this Constitutional Instrument poses to Ghana's nascent democracy", the General Secretary of Ghana Union Movement(GUM), Kojo Gold Stated in a statement at a press briefing on Thursday March 16, 2023 at the International Press Center in Accra.
The controversial CI seeks to make the Ghana Card the sole document for proof of one's citizenship for registration of voters.
According to the Third Force Alliance, it has taken pains to meticulously study in detail the various provisions and contents of the said CI, Public Elections(Registration of Voters) Instrument, 2022, which the EC is seeking to lay before the august house of parliament.
It revealed that after perusal of the said C.I., the Third Force Alliance is appealing to parliament without any equivocation that same must be rejected by parliament.
" It is important for us to further state without a doubt, that this CI will lead to the disenfranchisement of millions of Ghanaians and thereby occasion unjustifiable voter suppression should it be allowed to stand in its current form. For the avoidance of doubt, Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution guarantees every Ghanaian citizen who is eighteen years and above and of a sound mind, the inalienable right to register and vote in public elections and referenda.
This very constitution further enjoins the electoral commission in Article 45 to undertake programmes for the expansion of the registration of voters, and not to limit or restrict the registration of voters as the Electoral Commission is seeking to do through this absurd CI", the Group added.
The group further notes with bleeding hearts that the teething challenges that continue to bedevil the Ghana Card Registration process make this newly proposed CI even more objectionable. Apart from logistical and network concerns, we now know that the operations of the National Identification have been hamstrung by financial constraints.
These financial challenges, as the NIA itself has disclosed, have led to 3.5 million blank cards being locked up in a bonded warehouse due to the NIA's indebtedness to its private partner, Identity Management System(IMS), while another 645,663 cards are yet to be issued to Ghanaians who have completed their registrations. Additionally, about 631,847 cards have not been printed, while as we speak, an estimated 2.5 million Ghanaians are yet to be registered in the first place", the group further noted.
"...you would agree with us that apart from these impediments in acquiring the Ghana Card, the Electoral Commission is proposing to completely abandon its guarantor system which has been integrated into Legislative Instrument(L.I. 2111(2012), the very law regulating the issuance of the Ghana card. We are therefore convinced that, this attempt to make the Ghana Card the sole document for the identification of Ghanaians, can only be construed as a devious plot by the Jean Mensah-led Electoral Commission acting in cahoots with the failed Akufo Addo-Bawumia government to subvert the in alienable right of millions of Ghanaians", Kojo Gold noted in the statement.